November 8, 2007

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Stockbridge presents — on its own
Toxic Audio kicks off a season of performance
By Alec O’Meara aomeara@hippopress.com

After renting out its outstanding acoustics for the past five years, Pinkerton Academy’s Stockbridge Theatre steps out on its own this fall to offer its first ever slate of original productions.

The 2007-08 season will kick off on Wednesday, Nov. 14, with an appearance by Florida-based Toxic Audio, a five-man team of acrobatic, family-friendly vocalists who have been praised for their improvisational and musical talents. Celebrities such as Wayne Brady, William Shatner and Liza Minelli have all called themselves fans of the unique act, which sounds on paper like a crossing of the Partridge Family and Blue Man Group.

Stockbridge Arts facility director Matt Cahoon is excited about the opportunity to bring a unique show to the area, but he is also looking forward to what he hopes will be a new era for the theater.

Also included in the lineup for the season are a visit by the New Shanghai Circus on Feb. 21 and a trio of Irish sopranos on March 16, the day before St. Patrick’s Day. A bluegrass festival is also in the works. Part of the goal of the independent bookings is to find acts that will be able to offer educational opportunities to the students at Pinkerton, Cahoon said.

The theater was built in 2002 and has already been the site of choice for acts such as the Gin Blossoms and the Bacon brothers. Cahoon said that the entire auditorium was tuned professionally to maximize the acoustics, and that the entire room, from the contoured walls to the special celling, is meant to help give the audience an aural treat.

“I’m told that none of the surfaces are an accident. Every peak, every gap, and every corner is there for a reason,” said Cahoon, who added that the theater is trying to focus on booking musical acts to take advantage of the high-quality venue.

Fancy walls aren’t the only attraction, of course. There isn’t a bad seat among the nearly 900 plush chairs in the auditorium, with leg room and guest comfort a priority.

“The Palace [Theatre in Manchester] will always have a special place in my heart, but there are things now that you can do for audience comfort that weren’t available 100 years ago,” Cahoon said.

Tickets for Toxic Audio are available at Stockbridge Theatre’s Web site which is now independent of Pinkerton Academy’s school site.

“This theater’s become the showpiece of the school,” Cahoon said.


Toxic Audio
Where: Stockbridge Theatre at Pinkerton Academy in Derry
When: Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $30
More info: www.stockbridgetheatre.com